Monthly Archives: April 2012

Muppets Taking on Health Care, Pt. 1

by Umang J. Desai

I never really watched Sesame Street when I was a kid. My parents felt that books would be better for my educational growth and development; therefore, the TV was rarely on. As a result, I never took the Sesame Street characters seriously as I got older, but I couldn’t help but agree with Scooter and the Cookie Monster over the past few weeks. In a prelude video to TED2012, Scooter made an assessment that TED is like the “Academy Awards for Nerds.” Now that is something I can relate to and agree with.

While that’s one character’s take, here is an excerpt from TEDMED’s about us section:

TEDMED is a community of people who are passionate about imagining the future of health and medicine. Once a year, TEDMED holds a “grand gathering” where leaders from all sectors of society come together for three and a half days. They explore the promise of technology and the potential of human achievement

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What makes a great hospital?

by Umang J. Desai

That’s a complicated question with many different answers, not the least of which will include key buzz words like “quality”, “satisfaction”, “best practices”, and “engagement”. While those all apply, I would advocate seeking the answer beyond the traditional clinical aspects of one’s interaction with a hospital, be it in an outpatient setting, during an inpatient stay, or even as a colleague and employee within the organization; there are forces acting behind the scenes that make a good hospital great.

Before I offer my answer, I’d like to acknowledge that there are many good hospitals in the United States. Institutions that garner household prestige often rank highly in the U.S. News and World Report rankings, whether they are highly ranked local, metro hospitals, or gold performers in multiple specialties, an honor which confers their presence on the Honor Roll list. This list consistently highlights about a dozen academic medical centers, such as UCLA, University of Washington Medical Center, Mass General, Cleveland Clinic, Mayo Clinic, and Johns Hopkins Hospital – which has been ranked first on the Honor’s list for the last 21 years straight.

Those are all great accolades, but patients often have poor experiences at those fine centers of care. It is my belief that truly great institutions of health care exist because of another crucial component: leadership. I have read about a miniscule number of physicians who have practiced medicine that was not in the best interest of the patient, and few articles of nurses who have intended to deliver substandard care. My clinical training and those of others is never to do harm, but bad things do happen; sometimes they’re called accidents. This is where good hospitals have the chance of becoming great.

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nurse to patient ratios in New York a smart idea

New York is the newest state to look at regulating the nurse to patient ratios in the state. The Safe Staffing for Quality Care Act would “The bill would require each New York hospital to submit an annual documented staffing plan and would authorize nurses to refuse work assignments if they exceed the staffing ratio. The following staffing ratios would be required for each department:

• One nurse to one patient: Operating rooms, trauma emergency units and all critical care areas — including intensive care units.
• One nurse to two patients: Maternal and child care units for the patients’ first stage of labor and post-anesthesia units.
• One nurse to three patients: Antepartum, emergency department, pediatrics, units for newborns and telemetry units.
• One nurse to four patients: Non-critical antepartum patients, medical/surgical units and acute-care psychiatric units.
• One nurse to five patients: Rehabilitation units.
• One nurse to six patients: Well-baby nursery units. Source

While New York Association of Nurse Executives and New York Hospital Association oppose this proposed law, they’d be smart to look at the positive effect this law has had in California. Enacted in 2004, the nurse to patient ratios have brought about lower mortality, better patient care and allowed for a higher retention of nurses. The short term costs may be there, but the long term benefits outweigh those costs, especially looking forward with changes in Healthcare in the US and the upcoming nurse shortage. Being ahead of the curve is never easy, but this is one bill good for all of New York.

Getting the best out of social media as a healthcare recruiter

There’s constant talk about using social media in recruiting – but for someone already trying to fit everything into a day, where do they start and what sources should they use? AMN Healthcare’s 2011 Social Media Survey was released recently, and the use of social media is on the rise. Almost 50% of all respondents report that they use social media for professional networking, up from the previous year, while 31% are using social media for job searching. The most telling stat is that only 6% of respondents credited social media for hiring. For all the talk of using social media in recruiting, do a search on twitter for nurse candidates, and there’s nothing beyond spam links and aggregators spitting out the same openings on 5 different twitter accounts. Nurses may use Facebook to connect with a company or professional association, but its not where they are advertising their resume. For a recruiter, Linkedin is the one source where putting in the effort can provide actual results, and the best ROI. For a hard to fill position, use you time to Facebook to post to professional associations or nurse groups, not try to search through profiles. Pinterest may have huge traffic numbers and pretty pictures, but its not where the candidates are. The Find Healthcare Careers Education Database has over 9,000 school listings – reach out to a school in the area you need for candidates. Social Media has a place in recuriting, and the numbers show its growing, but this is one of those times where it’s best not to put all the recruiting resources in one basket.